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message 1: by Vanessa (last edited Jan 12, 2009 02:18AM) (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments So I've decided to make a goal of reading 80 books this year but with the stipulation that at least 25 of the books come from my 'To-read' lists (such as '1001 books you must read before you die' and books with Pulitzer Prizes, etc)

(1) She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb [Oprah's Book Club:]

I didn't fall in love with the main character as many of my friends did so I had a hard time finishing the book. It was wonderfully written but I still felt it lacked that certain something that makes it an unforgettable read therefore I wasn't extremely impressed.


message 2: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie (sbranson05) | 98 comments Vanessa - I thought the same thing about She's Come Undone. I'd heard such great things about it, I was fully expecting to love it, but for me it was just OK. Someone told me that I would like I Know This Much Is True better, but I haven't picked it up yet. Glad to hear I wasn't the only one who didn't completely get into it!


message 3: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one either! I am planning on reading I Know This Much Is True eventually and I'm hoping it will be better but we'll have to wait and see. I've learned not to trust other people's judgements as much :D




message 4: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (2)Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice [1001 Books:]

Another disappointment for me. I just plain don't like Anne Rice's writing style. Not only did I find her descriptions over the top and useless but I felt that she was trying to hard (i.e. poetic similes that do not relate to the plot whatsoever). Also, the format of the book was difficult to read since some of the paragraphs were pages long. I know this was supposed to read like an interview but there could've been more breaks in the text to make it a little easier for the reader to concentrate. My rant is now done.


message 5: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (3)White Teeth by Zadie Smith [1001 Books:]

Again, a disappointment. Zadie Smith is a very talented writer but I did not see the point in the book. She brought up some very hot topic issues and I definitely appreciate the way she presented her views but I couldn't help wishing I was finished with the book while reading it.


message 6: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (4)The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

I enjoyed this book much more than I was expecting. It was not just an easy read, it actually delved into some risque issues such as spousal abuse and homosexuality. The writing wasn't the best but I enjoyed reading a book by a Latina author that helped give me a different perspective regarding the Latin and Hispanic culture.


message 7: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (5)The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

I really enjoyed this book. I love when the main characters of a book are actually book nerds themselves because it makes me fall in love with reading all over again. It wasn't exactly a page-turner for me but I did enjoy it while reading it.


message 8: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (6)A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton [Oprah's Book Club:]

The was a slow read for me and I just couldn't get into it. I can see why some people like it due to the psychological insights and representation of family life but it just didn't quite have enough 'umph' for me.


message 9: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (7)Life of Pi by Yann Martel [1001 books:]

This book was amazing! Not only did it delve into religion in a way I've never read (let alone thought!) before but it also put an excellent spin on zoo life and the preservation of animals. This book was abosolutely chock full of...for lack of a better word...insights about life, love, and character. Although the very end was a bit incongruent, I still recommend this book to everyone.


message 10: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (8)The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri [1001 books:]

I was pleasantly surprised with this book and how easily I was drawn into the story. Lahiri is an extremely talented author and was able to get me interested in a topic which many other authors have attempted but have inevitably failed.

(9)The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K.Rowling

Very delightful book! Not only did it have cute fairy tales with morals incorporated but it also gave a few answers to some of the questions left behing by the Harry Potter series (which I love!). Definitely a great read for HP lovers.

(10)The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [1001 books:]

I am impressed by how ahead of his time Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was! He probably created the basis for almost every mystery novel and detetive TV show we've ever watched! The stories were written over 120 years ago and still I was intrigued.

(11)I Did(But I Wouldn't Now) by Cara Lockwood

Extremely easy read. Good for when you're traveling or sick.

(12)The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nikola

Cute story that made me want to avoid all Park Avenue mothers and to love and cherish my future children starting now. Much to my surprise, I was very emotionally involved with this book, mainly because it singles out the selfishness of some parents and how their disregard for their children affects the kids in the future. What can I say? I'm a sucker for hurting children.


message 11: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (13)A Mind to Murder by P.D. James

I was not impressed by this book because it was extremely obvious and not creative in the least bit. I probably won't read another by James.

(14)Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri [Pulitzer Prize:]

I really enjoyed these short stories. They were all quite sad in nature but extremely entertaining and enligtening to read. She is an extremely talented author.


message 12: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (15)Dracula by Bram Stoker [1001 Books:]

This was an enjoyable read but I was more impressed with the fact that Bram created the figure of Dracula himself and how popular it is still to this day. His writing isn't necessarily the best, especially since all of the characters seemed to have the same voice throughout the novel, but it is still very imaginative and ahead if its times.


message 13: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (16)How to Be Good by Nick Hornby

I hated certain aspects of this book and loved others. I hated the main character but still could empathize with her dilemma. It definitely put into perspective what it means to be 'good' and therefore I find it a worthwhile read although at times the story made me want to hurl the book across the room.

(17)The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon [1001 books:]

This is such an interesting insight into the mind of an autistic teenager. I don't know how Haddon was able to so accurately portray their thinking patterns but it was certainly impressive. The book itself was quite cute in itself. I really liked it.


message 14: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (18)Perv-a Love Story by Jerry Stahl

I still don't know what to make of this book. It was very dark and unrelatable but a quick read and unique.


message 15: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (19)Perfume:The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind [1001 Books:]

The basis of this story was very unique and intriguing but I personally found the writing style to be pedantic with unnecessary details. Some of the sections dragged on while the author described the process of perfume making and all the different materials used while other sections written about the murderer flew by.


message 16: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (20)Adultery for Beginners by Sarah Duncan

As surprising as it may seem, I didn't enjoy this book. Who would've thought with such an intriguing title that the book itself would suck (I'm being facetious). The writing was horrible, the plot was less than noteworthy and overall a not worthy read.


message 17: by Vanessa (last edited Mar 30, 2009 05:04AM) (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (21)Under the Banner of Heaven by John Krakauer [Non-fiction:]

I've been trying to 'expand my horizons' by reading more non-fiction and I couldn't have picked a better book to help get me started! I found the in-depth history and explanation of the Mormon religion fascinating plus Krakauer's writing was excellent plus I loved his (basic) neutrality throughout the entire book. He always had a justification for any negative thing he said. This is a book that I believe I will read again because I feel like my tiny brain wasn't able to gather all of the pertinent information provided.


message 18: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (22)No One Left to Tell by Jordan Dane

I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Not only is the author from my hometown but she wrote a book that I didn't want to put down! I was curious what was going to happen next and I enjoyed the plot. For one of her first books, I'm definitely impressed.


message 19: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (23)Anthem by Ayn Rand

I loved the style of the book, how it was written, and the point. I didn't agree with everything but it was definitely a super fast read and worth while.


message 20: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (24)The Road by Cormac McCarthy [Oprah's and Pulitzer:]

This book was excellent in its portrayl of the lasts days on earth. Not only did I feel the desolation and extreme sadness but I even began to see the futility in living in those times! Great read for thinking and appreciating what we have.


message 21: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (25,26)I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb [Oprah's Book Club:]

Why does this book have 2 numbers? Because it's almost 900 pages. I contemplated making it three but decided to not make it too easy on myself. I was pleasantly surprised with this book however, considering my strong opposing feelings to 'She's Come Undone' by the same author. Although this book delved into the many hot topics of that time in order (in my opinion) to increase sensationalism and 'deepness' for the book as was done in the first book, I enjoyed the story, I could relate to the protaganist and I was interested in the end, even though it was 900 pages later! It definitely could've been much shorter but it was still pretty good.


message 22: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (27)And Then You Die by Iris Johansen

Eh, not so great but a quick read.

(28)Honeymoon by James Patterson

Interesting and super duper quick read. Great for traveling.

(29)Me vs Me by Sarah Mlynowski

It was ok with a cool concept but I think it had much more potential than was utilized

(30)Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag

It was hard for me to get into this book and I guessed the outcome at the very beginning and it was a bit long.


message 23: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (31)Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

This was a fun book that was also an eye-opener regarding getting to confident in how secure your life is. She was a really good author but I got sick of her talking about fashion labels and how 'fabulous' she was. I know it was meant as a joke but it's obvious she definitely is that into herself. But it was certainly enjoyable enough to want to read her other works.


message 24: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (32,33) The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami [1001 Books:]

Over 600 pages so I'm counting it as 2 books. I really enjoyed this book and the author's style even though I will admit I didn't quite understand everything. Very unique story line and characters. I've already suggested it for some of my friends.


message 25: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (34) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I can understand why people feel motivated by this book as it has a great underlying message but at the same time I found the writing lacking in depth and professionalism. Granted, it couldv'e been due to translation but I just felt like I was readeing a child's book the entire time. I appreciated the message and I think it did encourage me in a way to make sure to live life to the fullest but it wasn't life-changing for me. I would definitely still suggest it to others though.


message 26: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (35)You Suck by Christopher Moore

Super fast read and it was interesting but not all I expected it to be. My first Christopher Moore and I was expecting more scandal and darkness but this was actually pretty cheesy and contrived. I'll give one of his other's a try.


message 27: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (36) Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It not only delved into the depression-era circus life (first time reading that) but also created characters that I was routing for and fully wanted to succeed. I also love her way of writing about the animals, it hooked me from the start.


message 28: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (37)House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III [Oprah's Book Club:]

Sadly, I saw the ending of the movie before I began this book so I already had an idea of what was going to happen. However, knowing the ending of the book was the only way to get me to finish it because I wanted to see how the events came about. Other than that, I found it rather boring and I was less than enthusiastic while reading it. The ending of the movie is apparently different than the book and that made it somewhat better.


message 29: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (38)About a Boy by Nick Hornby

I've always enjoyed Hornby's books but this one got to me. I loved the little boy and I found myself completely involved with what was going on. It only took one day to read! I definitely recommend this one.

(39) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë [1001 Books:]

I'm not a huge fan of 19th century novels but I pushed through this one. There were definitely parts I didn't fully understand the dialogue and parts that were excruciatingly boring but not as bad as I expected. I'm still not sure if there is any point to the book but I can see why it was a big deal at its time.


message 30: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (40)The Third Victim by Lisa Gardner

I've always enjoyed Gardner's thrillers and this one definitely didn't let me down. It was a little bit depressing, however, delving into the minds of the school shooters and reliving the pain caused by these tragedies.


message 31: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (41)Naked by David Sedaris

I was a bit disappointed in this book because I believe I had too high of expectations. Having read "Me Talk Pretty One Day" and loving it, I expected far too much from "Naked" and now know to just let things be when it comes to Sedaris and his writing.

(42)Heart of Dixie by Tami Hoag

Only reason I read this book was because I was going on vacation and it was small and quick. Exactly what you would think of as a romoance novel, boring, predictable and cheesy.

(43)Obsession by Jonathan Kellerman

Not a bad book. I was interested and I read it rather quickly considering my busy schedule and the 400+ pages (maybe a bit too long). I think I'll give some of his other books a go. Great vacation read.



message 32: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (44)Hide by Lisa Gardner

I'm never disappointed by a Gardner book. They are exactly what I expect, easy, suspenseful and exciting.


message 33: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (45)The World According to Garp by John Irving [1001 Books:]

I think that Irving is an amazing writer but both of his books I've read so far seem to be lacking in purpose in my opinion. While his style is amazing, his plots are so-so and hard to decipher. I'm sure I'll read more of his books just to figure him out.


message 34: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (46)No One Heard Her Scream by Jordan Dane

This book was alright but I enjoyed the first book I read of Dane's better. I'll still read others by her but mainly vacation reads and when I'm sick.


message 35: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (47)Pandora's Daughter by Iris Johansen

Another easy read to help me get back in the game. I liked to psychic aspects of the book though, it was interesting.


message 36: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (48)Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts[Oprah's Book Club:]

I have seen the movie and loved it so I was excited to see how the book is in comparison. I loved it! Not only did it remind me of home (Oklahoma) but it was just so heart warming and gentle. I read it really quickly and enjoyed every bit of it. I was afraid I would be bored if it was too similar but I was caught up in the book as much as the movie. And there were definitely some new things in the book to keep it interesting. I'm definitely going to read some more of Letts' books.


message 37: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (49)A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

Eh, his writing style was funny at first but then it became very difficult to follow and want to continue. Over 400 pages of run-on sentences and incoherent thoughts gets to be a bit much and I'm proud that I was able to finish it!


message 38: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (50)The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

This was an ok book and not bad writing but very predictable. I was hoping for a twist ending but nothing special really happened.


message 39: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (51) Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut

I really enjoyed this book and Vonnegut's view on mankind. Every so often he would throw in a zinger that really made me think, and about really obvious things too! He put a spin to all the evils of the world (all created by man, of course). This is a book I'll probably read again and get something else out of it next time.


message 40: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (52)No One Lives Forever by Jordan Dane

The book was entertaining enough but painfully obvious. I just got through it rather than waiting to see what would happen next.


message 41: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (53) Bel Canto Ann Patchett

Damn! This is one of those books that put life into perspective in a way that you didn't think possible and really makes you think about things. It brought me outside of myself and my selfish views into a worldview that was like a refreshing slap in the face that I needed. To me, those are the best kinds. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, to say the least. It took me a little bit to get into it but by the end I was so connected to the characters and to what was going to happen that I couldn't put the book down. Definitely suggest it for others.


message 42: by Vanessa (last edited Sep 22, 2009 08:41AM) (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (54) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

I could not put this book down. Not only because it was a great story and I was hooked, but because I couldn't believe that someone's life could really be that horrible! This book made me want to look into the history of Afghanistan while at the same time it made me feel such sympathy for all who have had to endure such tragedy and hardships.


message 43: by Vanessa (last edited Oct 30, 2009 09:17AM) (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (55)The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood [1001 books:]

This was a good book with really awesome one-liners thrown in out of nowhere to spice things up. It also helped me to appreciate what I have available and what we tend to take for granted. However, I'm starting to believe that epilogues are a book's worst enemy. Some epilogues can almost ruin a book (i.e. Life of Pi and Bel Canto) while it just makes others more tedious, such as with this novel. It just seemed to me like Atwood was trying to show off all of her witty symbolisms and wording in the epilogue and it took away from the story as a whole as opposed to adding to it.


message 44: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (56)Dress Your Family in Corderoy and Denim by David Sedaris [non-fiction:]

This was laugh-out-loud funny and I enjoyed every story. This more than makes up for my disappointment in Naked and I also read it in a day. Fun stuff


message 45: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (57)The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright

This story was a bit hokie (sp?) but a fast read with some encouraging family and love themes. It also has very Christian undertones so it's not something I would suggest for the unbeliever.


message 46: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (58)The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo [1001 books:]

It was interesting and entertaining but not in the least bit historically relevant. It was definitely slow at times and it amazes me how the writing style in those days could fill up hundreds of pages and yet lack any character or plot development! I did think it was good and I enjoyed the ending.


message 47: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (59)Gilead:A Novel by Marilynne Robinson [Pulitzer Prize:]

Another book with heavy Christian undertones. I enjoyed the style and the writing and was touched at the end. Inspirational read.


message 48: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (60)Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies by Laura Esquivel [1001 Books:]

Personally, I don't know what all the hype is about. It sounded like a child wrote the book with all of the simple sentences and child-like expressions. Some of that may be due to the translation but I think it's mainly the author. The storyline was also extremely undeveloped and just plain annoying. I have no idea why it's a "must read" but at least it's a fast read.


message 49: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (61)Kiss Me While I Sleep: A Novel by Linda Howard

It was just what I needed at the time. A fast read with romance and action. Nothing particularly special but I know to find one of Howard's books when I need a quick read that is entertaining.


message 50: by Vanessa (new)

Vanessa | 145 comments (62)Everything is Illuminated:A Novel by Jonathan Safran Foer [1001 books:]

The writing style was a bit difficult for me to keep up with but I did appreciate his version of a Ukranian translating into English, I found it to be quite accurate. The story was also a bit hard to follow since it was constantly going from one place to another in not very logical sequences but I got used to it. I do appreciate the topic and some parts of it brought me to tears so I would still recommend it to others.


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